In the months prior to the 2015 general elections, the wind of ‘change’ swept through Nigeria. Almost everyone was excited at the prospect of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (as he then was) unseating the then President Goodluck Jonathan to become president of the country. Chants of “sai baba” were not uncommon in parts of Nigeria and the hope that Buhari would come in to clean the rot that had taken root during the presidency of Jonathan was high and evident.
It was unsurprising that Nigerians wanted to be done with the Jonathan government and wanted change. Stories of corruption and mismanagement in his government were rife and seemed to be revealed on a daily basis. From the N225 million spent by the Minister of Aviation under his government, Stella Oduah, to purchase 2 bullet-proof BMW cars to the N20 billion unremitted to the nation’s coffers by the NNPC. It was even more telling that the then CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido, was suspended for his apparent whistleblowing of the scandal.
Fast forward to March 31, 2015 when it emerged that Buhari had won the race for the presidency, millions of Nigerians were ecstatic and rightfully so. They felt that Buhari would be a break from the past and show what true leadership means: honesty, vision and a sense of duty to the people. They hoped that he would tackle corruption across board as he said he would do and make sure Nigeria regains her sense of pride and purpose once more.
However, problems began to manifest on the vehicle of change he rode to Aso Rock on soon after his inauguration. It took him six months to appoint ministers into his cabinet. Nigerians were told it was because he wanted to appoint the very best and apparently, appointing competent people takes that long. It is now obvious that not all members of his cabinet are competent after all.
Incompetent is the minister of sports who, after the Super Falcons won the AFCON in Cameroon, failed to pay them their dues on the most astonishing excuse that he did not expect them to win. This government is steadily breaking new boundaries on incompetence.
The economy has taken a turn for the worse since his presidency began and we are currently in a recession having experienced 3 consecutive quarters of negative economic growth with our GDP contracting by 2.44%, needing just 2 negative quarters for the economy to be in depression. But do not fret, recession is just a word! He has been blamed for not doing enough at the time our oil revenue slumped drastically due to the fall in worldwide oil prices. For example, he insisted he would not devalue the currency on the basis that it will make life harder for Nigerians.
In case he did not get the memo, life is already harder for many Nigerians.
The question is, does his government care? To have an understanding of the extent to which the government cares for the wellbeing of Nigerians, look no further than to the plight of millions of Nigerians displaced in IDP centres in Northern Nigeria. Despite the billions of naira budgeted for the welfare of the people within the IDPs, children die every day from chronic malnourishment and millions are at risk of starvation according to the United Nations. It is pathetic that food and aid meant for the IDPs are converted by corrupt officials and no one is being prosecuted for it.
Just last week, the Senate uncovered a fraud of N2.5billion committed by the Presidential Initiative on the North-east (PINE) constituted by President Buhari for the purpose of taking care of the IDPs and rebuilding the North-east. Suspicious payments like spending N205 million to clear Taipa grass and N253 million to clear invasive plant species were uncovered.
Let us talk about the death of 3 corpers of the NYSC who died during the ongoing 2016 Batch ‘B’ (Stream I) Orientation Course in Bayelsa, Kano and Zamfara states. Let us talk about the NYSC’s refusal to take responsibility for their deaths caused by the negligence of their staff. Let us also talk about the silence of the presidency concerning this and how no reforms of the NYSC is being undertaken now.
The very issues of corruption and mismanagement that are hovering over Buhari’s government are the same that made Nigerians remove the then ruling party from power and install someone they figured could do a much better job. Buhari should realize that Nigerians showed in 2015 that they are ready to change a government that does not work for them. His government, from the policies it formulates, to his ministers, has become a thing that Nigerians are increasingly impatient with. 2019 is two years away, Nigerians will hold him accountable at the ballot box if he does not change focus now.